BMP suppresses WNT to integrate patterning of orthogonal body axes in adult planarians

pubmed: wnt1 2023-09-21

PLoS Genet. 2023 Sep 20;19(9):e1010608. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1010608. Online ahead of print.


Adult regeneration restores patterning of orthogonal body axes after damage in a post-embryonic context. Planarians regenerate using distinct body-wide signals primarily regulating each axis dimension: anteroposterior Wnts, dorsoventral BMP, and mediolateral Wnt5 and Slit determinants. How regeneration can coordinate perpendicular tissue axes without symmetry-breaking embryonic events is not fully understood. Here, we report that the planarian dorsoventral regulator bmp4 suppresses the posterior determinant wnt1 to provide patterning input to the anteroposterior axis. Double-FISH identified distinct anteroposterior domains within dorsal midline muscle that express either bmp4 or wnt1. Homeostatic inhibition bmp4 and smad1 expanded the wnt1 expression anteriorly, while elevation of BMP signaling through nog1;nog2 RNAi reduced the wnt1 expression domain and elevated bmp4 expression. Homeostatic BMP signal perturbation broadly affected anteroposterior identity as measured by expression of posterior Wnt pathway factors, and caused mislocalization of AP-regionalized pharynx progenitors, without strongly affecting expression domains of anterior regulators. Additionally, wnt1 inhibition elevated bmp4 expression in the tip of the tail. Therefore, dorsal BMP signals and posterior wnt1 mutually antagonize for patterning the tail. Furthermore, homeostatic bmp4 RNAi caused medial expansion of the lateral determinant wnt5 and reduced expression of the medial regulator slit. By contrast, nog1;nog2 RNAi restricted wnt5 expression. Double RNAi of bmp4 and wnt5 resulted in lateral ectopic eye phenotypes, suggesting bmp4 acts upstream of wnt5 to pattern the mediolateral axis. These results indicate bmp4 controls dorsoventral information and also, through suppression of Wnt signals, influences anteroposterior and mediolateral identity. Based on related functions across vertebrates and Cnidarians, Wnt and BMP cross-regulation could form an ancient mechanism for coordinating orthogonal axis patterning.

PMID:37729232 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1010608